SAO PAULO — A woman whose father is accused of imprisoning her for 12 years and fathering her seven children says she forgives him – and worries how she will care for her offspring if he is imprisoned, police said Friday.
"She is confused and does not express herself very well, but she did tell us she forgives her father and does not want him imprisoned because she needs his help to care for the children," lead investigator Adriana Meireles told The Associated Press by telephone.
Meireles quoted the 28-year-old woman as saying she never rejected her father's sexual advances because she feared he would abandon her and the children.
Jose Agostinho Pereira, 54, is accused of keeping his daughter a virtual prisoner since 1998 in a thatched-roof hut outside a tiny fishing village. The area of Maranhao state is so remote it can only be reached by canoe. He was a subsistence farmer and fisherman.
Pereira is also accused of abusing two of the young children he had with his daughter.
Police say Pereira started sexually abusing the daughter after his wife left him, when the daughter was just 12. They had their first child four years later.
He was jailed Tuesday in the city of Pinheiro. His daughter and the children are being cared for by the state's protective care services.
The exact ages of the four girls and three boys are not known because none of their births was registered. Police believe they range in age from 2 months to 12 years.
Another of Pereira's daughters, who is now 31, also has told police he raped her and fathered a son about 17 years ago. After giving birth she fled home and left her son with her father.
Pereira has not obtained a lawyer and he will likely be defended by a court-appointed attorney, Meireles said
Under Brazilian law, prosecutors only file charges after police have ended their investigation, which is expected to take another 10 daysPolice say Pereira, could face up to 30 years in prison.
In a jailhouse interview with television station TV Cidade, Pereira remained defiant about the accusations, saying, "I only did it because it was a consenting love. If she had not consented to it, I wouldn't have done it."